Decision of the Bureau: 18.COM 1.BUR 4.2

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Article 23 of the Convention as well as Chapter I.4 of the Operational Directives relating to the eligibility and criteria of International Assistance requests,
  2. Having examined document LHE/23/18.COM 1.BUR/4 Rev. as well as International Assistance request no. 01931 submitted by Central African Republic,
  3. Takes note that Central African Republic has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Pilot inventory of intangible cultural heritage of the communities of the Lobaye forest prefecture:

To be implemented by the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism, the purpose of this eighteen-month project is to develop a pilot intangible cultural heritage inventory for twelve ethnocultural communities of the Lobaye forest prefecture. The area ‘Basse-Lobaye’ has also been designated as a Man and Biosphere reserve since 1977. More specifically, it aims to provide Central African Republic with its first intangible cultural heritage inventory. As part of the national cultural policy, the project will contribute to the training of human resources capable of conducting community-based inventories and inventorying operations, in collaboration with the communities concerned and academics. It also foresees a series of capacity-building training workshops, including on community-based inventories, data collection and processing, and communication activities to spread awareness about the project and about living heritage in general. It will thus lay the foundations for sustainable safeguarding of living heritage and the effective implementation of the 2003 Convention in the Central African Republic.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance aims to support a project implemented at the national level, in accordance with Article 20 (c) of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the provision of a grant, pursuant to Article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes note that Central African Republic has requested assistance in the amount of US$99,997 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01931, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:

Criterion A.1: The initial request for International Assistance was prepared following consultations held in 2020 with three communities in the Lobaye region. As a result of the mission conducted by the expert who provided technical assistance to the State Party in August 2022, it was agreed that all the communities living in the region would be included, ensuring a more inclusive and participatory approach. Nine additional communities gave their consent to participate in the project. Altogether, participants from twelve communities were involved in the development of the International Assistance request. Furthermore, the project foresees that local community representatives will help identify members who will participate in training workshops, community-based inventorying workshops and fieldwork exercises. They will also participate in the planning, monitoring and follow-up of the project.

Criterion A.2: The budget is presented in a structured manner, corresponds to the planned activities and is consistent with the timeframe.

Criterion A.3: The request consists of twelve activities covering the following domains: the establishment of project coordination bodies; the purchase of equipment; capacity building; community-based inventories; fieldwork; documentation; awareness-raising; and project monitoring. The activities are presented in a logical sequence and correspond to the objectives and expected results outlined in the request.

Criterion A.4: The capacity-building workshops aim to establish a team of national facilitators to support the implementation of the Convention at national and local levels. This network of twenty-five trainers, equipped with knowledge about the 2003 Convention and skills to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, will be responsible for training communities on inventorying living heritage in the Lobaye region. Furthermore, the production of various communication materials throughout the project is expected to raise awareness among civil society and other stakeholders of the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and increasing its visibility. Finally, the project should result in the establishment of the first intangible cultural heritage inventory in Central African Republic, which is expected to be expanded to include other regions in the country in the future.

Criterion A.5: The submitting States Party will contribute 18 per cent of the total amount of the project budget (US$122,363). Consequently, International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for 82 per cent of the total amount of the project budget.

Criterion A.6: The objective of the request is to strengthen local and national capacities to safeguard intangible cultural heritage. The project seeks to reinforce the capacities of governmental institutions and community representatives through specific training on the 2003 Convention and in particular community-based inventorying. Furthermore, communities are expected to contribute to the collection of information, the validation of the inventory results and the awareness-raising activities. It is expected that almost eighty people will benefit from the training sessions, including staff from the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism. As a result, the skills acquired during the project will make it possible to continue the inventory work and other safeguarding efforts in the country beyond the end of the project.

Criterion A.7: The State Party has not previously received any financial assistance from UNESCO under the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund of the 2003 Convention to implement similar or related activities in the field of intangible cultural heritage.

Paragraph 10(a): The proposed activities are local in scope and imply cooperation with local and national implementing partners including academics, cultural associations in the field of intangible cultural heritage safeguarding and the media.

Paragraph 10(b): The pilot inventory and the communication materials developed during the project will contribute to raising awareness among communities about the importance of safeguarding their living heritage. It may have lasting results as it could also encourage similar initiatives to inventory intangible cultural heritage in other regions of Central African Republic.

  1. Approves the International Assistance request from Central African Republic for the project entitled Pilot inventory of intangible cultural heritage of the communities of the Lobaye forest prefecture and grants the amount of US$99,997 to the State Party for this purpose;
  2. Takes note of the positive experience of technical assistance provided to Central African Republic in the review of its request for International Assistance;
  3. Requests that the Secretariat reach an agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance, paying particular attention to ensuring that the budget and work plan of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund are detailed and specific enough to provide sufficient justification of the expenditures;
  4. Invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04-Report to report on the use of the assistance granted.